Perpetual Notion Machine

September 19, 2013 – Hearing Loss

09/19/13 5:40 PM | Science

Jim Carrier revisits a popular topic with aging Boomers – hearing loss. New evidence coming from labs at the University of Wisconsin show that hearing loss is not just from too much rock ‘n’ roll, but is genetic – a natural part of aging. Dr. Tom Prolla and his lab are studying a gene that could – one day – reverse hearing loss and aging. Here is a link to Dr. Prolla’s lab.

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August 29, 2013 – From Iceland to the Beltline

08/29/13 11:34 AM | Science

Highway roadsidesas place! And not just any place but habitat, buffer, and potential! Sound crazy? Normally don’t give roadsides a second thought? Am excited to share an interview with Joslyn Mink about her research on WI highways, native plants, restoration, and how to think about the 100,000+ miles of road — and thereby roadside — in the state. And my other guest studies insect food webs in Iceland. Jamin Dreyer shares stories of “the living smoke” and what the rest of us can learn from flies that hatch in the water and die on the land. Can’t imagine how these two early career scientists’ work can be related? Tune in and turn it up to find out! Permanent streaming audio will go here. And here it is! Produced by Kaitlin Stack Whitney and engineered by Matthew Zmudka.

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August 15, 2013 – Biomimetics

08/20/13 10:04 AM | Science

The 8/15/2013 PNM episode was produced by Kaitlin Stack Whitney and engineered by Matthew Zmudka.   What do ground squirrels, the Department of Defense, the death of public science funding, jellyfish, asymmetrical warfare, geckos, and lobsters have in common?   Our guest was Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, a geographer and currently a Research Associate at the University of Exeter within the Department of Geography and the Science, Technology, and Culture research cluster. She is working on a book, Life’s Work: The Labor of Biomimetic Science. Check out her background and links to her work on her website.   You can listen to the show here:       Also, we made the following announcement about a course on hunting and sustainability being offered by the WI Department of Natural Resources: Back by popular demand, one of Madison College’s most popular continuing education courses returns this fall. In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the college will offer at least two continuing education courses that aim to show how hunting supports conservation and healthy living. Two “Hunting for Sustainability” classes will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. on five consecutive Tuesdays beginning Aug. 27, each at Madison College’s West and Truax campuses in Madison. Keith Warnke, Wisconsin DNR hunting and shooting sports coordinator, says the program is aimed at novice adult hunters who did not grow up hunting but wish to safely harvest locally sourced, free-range wild game that’s a natural, healthy, low-fat source of protein. For more information or to register for the course, call Madison College, 608.246.6210, or Keith Warnke, 608.576.5243.

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Brain Imaging – July 18

07/19/13 9:38 AM | Science

In this episode of PNM, reporter Matthew Zmudka is “thinking about thinking” with two stories on brain imaging. In the first, he talks to Andrew Nencka, assistant professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, on a technique called fMRI that, without dyes or radioactivity, can track areas of brain activity. Then, he visits with Angela Richardson, Artist-in-Residence at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery’s Image Lab, about her new exhibit looking at the history of images of the brain. Angela is chronicling her exhibit on a Tumblr blog, The Great Ravelled Knot, and was kind enough to mention this show there. Check it out for many of the pictures mentioned in the broadcast, as well as for a questionable picture of the reporter.

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Rhythm & Booms impact on Warner park – July 4

07/2/13 11:32 AM | Science

There will be a lot of fireworks going off this week and some people are starting to notice an environmental impact. Tune in on July 4 to learn about the impact of 20 years of Rhythm & Booms on the Warner Park wetland. Julia Cechvala, author of an Isthmus article on the topic, will host the show. Talking live in the studio with Julia will be PNMer and Wild Warner member, Jim Carrier. They will discuss the chemicals in fireworks, the debris left over after the show, and the wildlife in the park.

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“Lab Lit” // Kingsolver’s ‘Flight Behavior’ – June 20

06/20/13 7:11 PM | Science

June 20th’s summer solstice show is produced and hosted by Kaitlin. It’s about ‘Lab Lit,’ or science in novels. This was inspired by a December 2012 New York Times article by Katherine Bouton, which can be found here: And this website: The show and the above article focus on Barbara Kingsolver’s recent book, Flight Behavior. But what challenges and opportunities come with a novelist talking about science? Especially insects and climate change? Our guest, ecologist Dr. Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota, can speak to those points! She is an expert in monarch butterflies, conservation biology, and insect ecology. More information about Dr. Oberhauser and her lab’s research can be found here: You can listen to the entire show right here:

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Names in Science – June 6

06/18/13 6:47 PM | Science

This week’s show occurred during the “Can’t Live Without My WORT” summer pledge drive, so in this broadcast Dennis Shaffer and Jim Carrier drum up support for the station. In between, reporter Matthew Zmudka presents three vignettes on science names – fun in fruit fly genetics, using chemical nomenclature to scare consumers, and the actual source of the gaggle of collective nouns for animals we have.

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Promises and Perils – the brave new world of genetic sequencing

05/30/13 10:31 AM | Science

Genetic sequencing may someday lead to miracle cures. But it is also the ultimate invasion of privacy. What can your genes tell you, who can see them, and do you really want to know? Tonight, May 30, 2013, on the Perpetual Notion Machine we explore “Promises and Perils – the brave new world of genetic sequencing.” Sixty years ago James Watson and Francis Crick unveiled the structure of DNA – the double helix. The first full genetic sequence, or genome, of a little bacteria was done in 1977. In 2000, a “rough draft” of the human genome – with its 25,000 genes – was published. Ten years ago, in 2003 the job was done. Today we can look at DNA and determine ancestry, the chances of getting a disease and who committed a crime. But these answers carry a host of ethical issues. Producer Jim Carrier interviews: * Dr. Jeffrey Botkin, a professor of human genetics and a medical ethics expert at the University of Utah * Dr. Kimberly Strong, an assistant professor of bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin * Former State Rep. Tom Seery of Milwaukee * Nilesh Patel, an attorney and board member of the Wisconsin ACLU. Recently a medical panel recommended that if any of 57 DNA mutations are found, patients should be told. Here is a link to that list: At the end of the show Jim Carrier also updates the spread of chronic wasting diseases among Wisconsin’s deer herd. You can listen to the show here:

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Late Spring Bloom – May 16

05/16/13 12:11 PM | Science

Last year’s extremely warm early spring now seems like an anomaly. You know, when we set 11 record high temperatures in March. Plants didn’t know what to do and started sprouting over a month earlier than normal. This year, however, the trend seems to be in the opposite direction, where some plants are sprouting, budding, and blooming later than usual. PNM reporter Hayden Marx wanted to look into this to see if this was really happening. So, he visited the one place in Madison that studies a large number of diverse plant life, the UW Arboretum. There he talks with Wisconsin native plant gardener Susan Carpenter and Assistant Ranger Laura while walking through the arboretum.   Hayden also brings us another story, this time concerning a potential danger in the recovery of Whooping cranes. Black flies are quite the nuisance to humans when camping or hiking. But they cause havoc around Whooping crane nests, that can result in fewer offspring during mating season. Co-director of communications for the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership Heather Ray explains in Hayden’s report.

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Cyberwarfare – May 2

05/2/13 9:56 PM | Science

Steven Yenzer talks cyberwarfare with reporters from Wired and Mother Jones. Learn how the U.S. and Israel damaged an Iranian nuclear facility with the world’s first “true” cyberweapon, and how Chinese hackers are infiltrating U.S. private companies and infrastructure.

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Perpetual Notion Machine
Perpetual Notion Machine
News & Culture
Thursdays @ 7:00 pm
Various Hosts
1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursday evenings of each month. A look at contemporary scientific issues and discoveries in a way that is accessible, understandable and entertaining to the non-scientists of the listening community.
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